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Former worker sues OSF HealthCare in wage policy dispute

A gavel sits on a judge's bench. On top of that photo, the words "WGLT Courts" appears.
WGLT file photo

A policy that requires staff for OSF HealthCare to work during unpaid meal breaks violates Illinois wage laws, according to a complaint filed in federal court against the medical network by a former medical assistant.

In her lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Christine Hanson accuses OSF of forcing workers to forego 30-minute meal breaks during their shifts.

The hospital network automatically deducted the meal breaks from workers’ pay, meaning staff were not compensated for overtime as mandated by the Illinois Minimum Wage Law and Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, according to Hanson.

Hanson worked as a medical office assistant for OSF HealthCare in Bloomington from 2016 to 2022.

Hanson’s lawyers with Werman Salas P.C. in Chicago are seeking class action status for more than 100 OSF employees also impacted by OSF wage policies. The total amount of lost wages amounts to more than $5 million, according to the lawsuit.

Hanson claims OSF staff were interrupted or subject to interruption during their breaks, and in some cases the time away from work amounted to 20 minutes or less.

OSF is aware employees “routinely perform work “off the clock” during their unpaid meal breaks because OSF expects and requires these employees to do so,” said the court filing.

In addition to loss of pay during breaks, the lawsuit alleges that the healthcare network’s uniform rounding policy deprives workers “of overtime pay for all overtime hours worked because OSF fails to include all work time in these employees’ total hours worked.” The policy rounds workers’ recorded time punches to the nearest 15-minute increment.

Attorneys for Hanson and OSF did not respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.

Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.